Summer School 10-12 July 2017

Imagination Sprint: Becoming the Designers of the Future

The world is rapidly changing. Challenges are getting bigger and bigger. Designing products and logos is not enough anymore!

Designers of the future will need to be intrepid, creative thinkers, researchers and experimenters. The designer of the future is no longer a lonely genius; instead they collaborate constantly with other designers and non-designers. More than ever, design is not just about the best idea, but also about integrating many ideas; not just about how things are made, but also why they are made.

The Design Summer Schoolm took the form of a 3 day sprint project in which designers of the future explored seemingly impossible challenges and themes bigger than us, than Imagination, than Lancaster: climate change, better cities, mobilities, food and energy distribution, health and wellbeing.

The aim of the Design Summer School was to take prospective students from different secondary schools around Britain through a design journey, while at the same time showing them the many ways in which design can shape the future.

At the core, the school introduced an idea of design process that moves away from the classic categories of product, graphic, interior, fashion, (…) design. Students were provided unfamiliar scenarios, and encouraged to find creative solutions to future challenges.

The program included contributions from academics from ImaginationLancaster as guest speakers who visited, talked about their research, offered provocations and mentored participants throughout the school. The presentations showed an extended view of design beyond the traditional understandings of the discipline, and included Prof. Paul Coulton, Dr. Dan Richards, Dr. Roger Whitham, Dr. Dan Burnnet, Creative Excahnge PhD Candidate Adrian Gradinar and Highwire PhD candidate Andy Garby. 

In a 2117-2017 connection, a selection ImaginationLancaster first year students communicated with the school participants and shared how their first year at Lancaster University had changed their idea of design. 

Three days of intense design project sprint ended with an exhibition of prototypes of speculative design solutions. Each design team produced a “capsule” to be “sent to the future”. 

We had a little opening, with a short presentation, with opportunities for visitors to explore the four designs of possible futures, and some time for the students to discuss their ideas with design experts.